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The subject is from St Matthew’s Gospel and shows the Magi, or three Wise Men, offering gifts of gold, incense, and perfumed ointment to the newborn Christ child. The story was a popular theme in Christian art and is the origin of our tradition of exchanging gifts at Christmas. The Magi were a Persian sacred caste, skilled in astrology and the occult. Following medieval legend, one of them was depicted as black.
oil on board
H 43.3 x W 72.3 cm
BATVG : P : 1900.19
bequeathed by James Shepherd, 1900